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Next Semester Courses (Spring 2021)

ENGL 11200-01, 02 INTRODUCTION TO SHORT STORY: THIS AMERICAN LIFE (LA)

3 CREDITS

ICC DESIGNATION: Perspectives: HU/CA; Themes: Identities/Inquiry, Imagination, and Innovation

INSTRUCTOR: Hugh Egan, 306 Muller, ext. 4-3563

ENROLLMENT: 20 students per section

PREREQUISITE: None

COURSE DESCRIPTION: In this course we will read a wide range of American short fiction, gathered loosely around the themes of childhood, adolescence, adult relationships, aging and death. In the course of our reading and discussion, we will traverse issues related to American identity, especially as they are inflected by race, ethnicity, and gender. We will also become familiar with formal elements of the short story, including point of view, plot, tone, and dialogue. Over the course of the term, we will read a combination of classic and contemporary American stories. We will end the term by reading Alexander Weinstein’s collection, Children of the New World.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Largely discussion.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Two short essays (2 pages), two longer essays (5-6 pages), a mid-term, a final exam, and class participation. Grading will be A-F. Because of the discussion-oriented format, class participation will be an important part of students’ final grades.

ENGL 11300, 01, 02 INTRODUCTION TO POETRY

3 CREDITS

ICC DESIGNATION: Themes and Perspectives: Humanities; Identities; Inquiry, Imagination, and Innovation.

INSTRUCTOR: Paul Hansom. Muller 321

ENROLLMENT: 20 per section

PREREQUISITE: None

STUDENTS: Open to all students.

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

What is poetry? What happens when you read it? To answer these questions, we’ll read a thematically, and formally broad range of poems and exercise an equally broad set of approaches to reading, thinking, and writing critically about poetry. We’ll begin by studying the formal elements of a poem thereby familiarizing ourselves with poetic terminology. Then, we will read poems from a modern and contemporary American context, examining a variety of themes with attention to the contextual forces of class politics, race, gender, and ecological concern.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Mostly discussion, limited lecture.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Two essays, two response papers, presentation questions and blogs. Grading will be A-F. Because of the discussion-based format of the course, participation will be an important part of students’ final grades.

ENGL 11300 INTRODUCTION TO POETRY

3 CREDITS

ICC DESIGNATION:  Identities; Inquiry, Imagination, and Innovation  

INSTRUCTOR: David Kramer, Muller 322

Enrollment: 20 per section

Prerequisite: None.

CRN:  42472

OBJECTIVES: The course will be a formal, thematic, and generally historical introduction to poems, poetry, poets, and the worlds created and found in highly organized language.  We will also consider reception: how and why we read poetry, and what kinds of pleasures are to be found therein.                       

Students: Open to all students.

Format and Style: Class is highly conversational.

Requirements:  Two five-page essays; reading quiz and reading response every class; assorted memorizations and recitations; essay mid-term and final exams.

Grading: Based on the above requirements, with emphasis placed upon class participation.

ENGL 11300 Introduction to Poetry 3 Credits

ICC THEMES: Identities; Inquiry, Imagination, and Innovation ICC PERSPECTIVES: Humanities and Creative Arts

INSTRUCTOR: Alexis Becker ENROLLMENT: 20 students per section PREREQUISITES: None

COURSE DESCRIPTION: How does a poem produce meaning? What does poetry do with language? This course is an introduction to a) the constituent elements of poems and the vocabulary with which we can analyze them and b) the extraordinary variety and capaciousness of texts we call “poems.” The aim of this course is to arrive at a sense, both ample and precise, of what a poem is, what it does, how it does what it does, and, perhaps, why we should care.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion (online, mostly synchronous)

COURSE REQUIREMENTS: Short writing assignments, recitations, poetic compositions, annotated poetry anthology, lively participation.

ENGL 18500-01,02: EARTHWORKS: LITERATURE, NATURE, AND THE

ENVIRONMENT. LA 3a HU

3 CREDITS

INSTRUCTOR: Paul Hansom, Muller 321

ENROLLMENT: 20 per section

PREREQUISITES: None

STUDENTS: Open to all students.

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

What is the nature of nature? This class offers an exciting literary, cultural, and historical exploration into the idea of “nature” and the “natural.” While it may seem self-evident to us that nature is all of that stuff “out there” – trees, rocks, oceans, animals, you know what I mean – this class will explore how natural environments in literature are not simple, common-sense places, but are in fact dynamic cultural constructions that change over time. What do we actually mean by nature? How do we understand it as a place, as an object, or as a literary form? Might nature be nothing more than a unique human experience? As you can see, this class will raise many intriguing questions, and by examining the “eco-literature” embodied in novels, stories, poems, biographies, and non-fictions, our sense of the natural will be challenged, and hopefully, expanded. We will be helped on our journey by Thoreau, Wordsworth, Cather, Dillard, Krakauer, Snyder – among many others.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion/ limited lecture. The class is designed around focused discussions of primary works.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Active class participation, response papers, analytical essays, presentations, final exam.

Engl 19410 Engendering Modernity: Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Women Writers 

3 Credits 

Instructor: Jennifer Spitzer, 305 Muller 

Prerequisites: None 

Enrollment: 20 Students per section 

ICC Attribute: Themes and Perspectives: Identities, Diversity attribute 

Course Description: This course will focus on a representative body of twentieth-and twenty-first century Anglophone women writers, writers who adapted earlier literary forms, and in some cases produced major stylistic innovations. We will examine how these authors negotiated a predominantly male literary tradition and marketplace, and how they drew upon and constructed their own literary communities, audiences, and ancestries. We will read works that self-consciously reflect on issues of identity, gender, feminism, and authorship, as well as works that explore the complex intersections of gender, sexuality, race, class, ethnicity, and nationality. We will also consider the relationship between gender and genre by reading a wide range of literary forms, from novels, short stories, and poetry, to theoretical essays and political manifestos. Our authors include Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Kate Chopin, Nella Larsen, Virginia Woolf, Jamaica Kincaid, and Carmen Maria Machado. 

Course Format: Discussion, with some brief lectures. 

Course Requirements and Grading: One 4-page essay, one 5-6 page final paper, and midterm exam.  Because of the discussion-oriented format, class participation and attendance will be an essential part of students’ final grades.   

ENGL 19414-01, INTRODUCTION TO ASIAN AMERICAN LITERATURE
3 credits
ICC DESIGNATIONS: Diversity, Humanities Perspective (Identities)  
INSTRUCTOR: Christine Kitano
ENROLLMENT: 20 students  

COURSE DESCRIPTION: We will examine a range of contemporary Asian American texts with particular attention to how they work with or against the “traditional” Asian American literary themes of immigration, generational conflict, and identity formation. We will also work toward identifying what new themes and issues we see forming in contemporary Asian American literature. For example, how might we account for the growing popularity of Asian American literary texts, demonstrated by the success of the adaptation of Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere and the announced adaptation of Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko? Or, given renewed attacks on Asian Americans due to the COVID-19 pandemic, what can Asian American literature reveal about the trials of the current moment? How does Asian American literature help us identify and critique the dominant ideologies that structure all of our lives? Readings will include fiction, poetry, nonfiction, films, and television shows.  

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion, with some context-setting lectures.
REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Three brief (1-2 pages) response papers, two essays (4-5 pages), in-class quizzes, midterm and final exam, and class participation. Grading will be A-F. Because of the discussion-oriented format, class participation will be an important part of students’ final grades.  

ENGL 20100-01   APPROACHES TO LITERARY STUDY      

3.0 CREDITS 

ICC ATTRIBUTE: Writing Intensive 

INSTRUCTOR: Jen Spitzer, Muller 305, Ext 4-7056 

ENROLLMENT:  15  

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Why do we read, what do we read, how can we read it—and why would anyone ever write about reading?  Organized around those huge questions, this course will grapple with the issues and concerns that occupy critics when they think about literature.  In the process, it will attempt to make us more self-conscious about our own ways of reading and interpreting, as well as the biases and assumptions that guide them.  We will also take a behind-the-scenes look at the field of literary studies and the controversies that have transformed the ways literature is studied.  A few of the many questions to be considered:  How did the academy come to have such a thing as an English Department in the first place?  What is the literary “canon” and who decides what it includes?  What are the virtues and limitations of “close reading”?  What “critical approaches” can one employ, and what distinguishes them?  What is literary theory? 

On what is perhaps a more practical level, we’ll practice reading, understanding, using, and citing critical/scholarly work. This course is intended for students interested in the English major or minor, or related fields.  

PREREQUISITE: One course in English. This course is designed primarily for first-years and sophomores who are working towards an English major or minor, though others are welcome. 

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Three 4-5 page essays, several more informal (also short) writing assignments. Final grade will be based on attendance, written work, and class participation. 

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion, with some brief lectures.

ENGL 21900-01, SHAKESPEARE

3 CREDITS

ICC DESIGNATION: Identities; Inquiry, Imagination, and Innovation

INSTRUCTOR: Christopher Matusiak, Muller 326

ENROLLMENT: 20 per section

PREREQUISITES: One course in the humanities or social sciences, or sophomore standing.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Why study Shakespeare now? This question has never been more pressing for those who would situate the playwright and his works at the heart of English studies and other Humanities disciplines. Shakespeare was an immensely talented poet, but he died over 400 years ago. Of what use can he be in grappling with the problems that confront us now?—our rising tide of political authoritarianism and institutional corruption; systemic racism, xenophobia, and misogynistic violence; and, critically, the ideological polarization and epistemological disarray that prevents our even arriving at a consensus on the ‘reality’ of such problems themselves? Arguably, if Shakespeare’s works are to have relevance in 2021 they must facilitate our understanding of, and responses to, the serious socio-political challenges we now face. Whether indeed they have this capacity—or do not—will be the question that guides us this semester. No prior knowledge of Shakespeare is necessary for success in the course—only enthusiasm, inquisitiveness, and a readiness to study three artistic masterpieces—The Merchant of Venice, Othello and The Tempest—in the contexts of their time and our own.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion/lecture.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: active participation; a reading journal; a take-home final exam.

ENGL 21900  03, 04  Shakespeare:

MASTER-MISTRESS OF MY PASSION:  SHAKESPEARE AND LOVE

3 CREDITS

ICC DESIGNATION:  Identities; Inquiry, Imagination, and Innovation  

INSTRUCTOR: David Kramer, Muller 322

ENROLLMENT: 20 per section.

CRN:  40406/40407

PREREQUISITE: One course in the humanities or social sciences, or sophomore standing, or permission of the instructor.  This course may be repeated for credit provided there is no duplication of the plays studied.

OBJECTIVES:   By studying comedies, tragedies, romances, and histories, the course will introduce Shakespeare’s theatre to both initiates and novices.  As we read the plays themselves we will study Shakespeare’s time, politics, religious, cultural, and scientific beliefs; what biography we possess and can conjecture; the workings of the Elizabethan theatre; Shakespeare’s poetic craft; his contemporary and subsequent reputation and that of individual plays; the vexed history of the texts themselves; and the forms and procedures of individual works as well as those of the genres of tragedy, comedy, romance, and history.  Using both the foreground of the texts and the background of context we will approach larger questions of meaning, both for Shakespeare’s time and for our own.  Substantial emphasis will be placed on the question of pleasure–why these plays pleased and still do; and on the question of cultural function, both in Shakespeare’s time and in our own.

            We’ll be focusing on some of Shakespeare’s many treatments of love (straight, gay, and indeterminate), both in the drama and in the sonnets and longer poems.

STUDENTS: Required of English majors and minors and some Theater Arts majors, but all are welcome.

FORMAT AND STYLE: Discussion and lectures.

REQUIREMENTS: Close reading of seven plays; completion of all assigned readings (quizzes will be given at each class); one written response each class; participation in classroom discussion; memorization of fifty lines during the course of the semester; two five-page essays; essay mid-term and final exam.

ENGL 22101-01  Survey of African American Literature 

3 credits

ICC THEMES:  Culture and History, Diversity, Humanities, Women and Gender Studies

INSTRUCTOR:  Lenora Warren, Office Location 307 Muller

ENROLLMENT: 20 per section

PREREQUISITES: One course in the humanities or social sciences, or sophomore standing

COURSE DESCRIPTION:  

This class explores African American literary production between the eighteenth and twenty-first centuries by looking at both canonical and non-canonical texts and the ways in which they problematize traditional readings of the history of African American literature. Specifically, we will think about the ways in which the eras of slavery, reconstruction, Jim Crow, and post-Civil Rights moment created their own micro categories of African American literature.

In addition to tracing the history and politics of African American Literature this class will discuss the ways in which the literature by black authors raises compelling questions about the role of representation in art-making, the intersection between race, gender, and class, and the ongoing problem of labeling such a varied field under a single category. From Phillis Wheatley to Octavia Butler we will look at how that variation both reflects and rejects prevailing views on race and racism. 

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE:  Discussion, with some context-setting lectures.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING:  Weekly journal entries,  one 4-6 page essay, a midterm exam. a final 5-7 page essay, and class participation.  Grading will be A-F based on the above requirements.   Since this is a discussion-based course, class participation will be an essential part of students’ final grades.

ENGL 28100, Romantic-Victorian Literature: Consumption and Identity 

3 CREDITS

INSTRUCTOR:  Julie Fromer, 316A Muller

ENROLLMENT:  20 students per section

PREREQUISITES:  None

COURSE DESCRIPTION:  Through novels, poetry, and housekeeping manuals, we’ll explore the literature, history, and culture of nineteenth-century England.  The nineteenth century was a time of rapid change for English men and women.  The preceding decades brought new sources of wealth, exotic new products from the East and West, and changes in Britain’s relationship with the rest of the world.  The nineteenth century can, in many ways, be seen as a period of adjusting one’s identity within the context of consumption.  Authors, poets, and cultural critics explored ways of defining oneself in relation to what, where, when, and how much one consumed.

Consumption includes the literal ingestion of food and drink, and we’ll be thinking both about the domestically produced goods of the British Isles, as well as the exotic luxuries, such as tea, tobacco, chocolate, sugar, and opium, imported from the British empire.  But consumption also includes the concept of cultural consumption—taking in and internalizing cultural products, such as books, poems, essays in periodicals, and advertisements—and so we’ll also be addressing more metaphorical ways of understanding the benefits and potential problems of consuming throughout nineteenth century England.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE:  Discussion, with some context-setting lectures.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING:  Three 2-page response papers, one 4-page essay, one 5-page essay, a short presentation, a take-home final exam, and class participation.  Grading will be A–F based on the above requirements.  Since this is a discussion-based course, class participation will be an essential part of students’ final grades.

English 29400 01  Slow Read:  They Kill us for Their Sport: King Lear

1 Credit

ICC DESIGNATION:  Identities; Inquiry, Imagination, and Innovation  

CRN: 42320

INSTRUCTOR:  David Kramer, 322 Muller

ENROLLMENT: 20 students

“Like flies to wanton boys are we to the gods; they kill us for their sport,” says poor Gloucester, and indeed the world of Lear can seem blasted from above.  But Shakespeare gives us a truly human world; the play’s events occur in a universe of betrayal, terror, and moral revelation, dealing with the relation of human to beast, connections between sight, blindness, and understanding, examining states of madness and lucidity, legitimacy and bastardy, parent-child relations, and questions of causation (do the gods really kill us for their sport?).  We will read slowly, examining carefully, working our way into every scene, as we consider background, textual problems (notorious), structure, character, interweaving themes, and, finally, the larger-than-life characters of Lear, his daughters, and the monstrous and thrilling characters who surround them. 

Students: Open to all students.

Format and Style: Class is highly conversational.

Requirements:  Attendance; class participation; reading response every class; five-page essay.Grading: Based on the above requirements, with emphasis placed upon class participation.

English 29400 02 Slow Read:  Shakespeare’s Sonnets

1 Credit

ICC DESIGNATION:  Identities; Inquiry, Imagination, and Innovation  

CRN:  43363

INSTRUCTOR:  David Kramer, 322 Muller

ENROLLMENT: 20 students

Shakespeare’s 154 Sonnets recount several years’ worth of love affairs, principally with a gorgeous aristocratic man and, secondarily, with a “dark lady” who has many lovers besides Shakespeare. The poet grows giddy with new love, despondent when he’s betrayed; he’s by turns lustful, despairing, meditative, self-loathing, comical, self-mocking, and, what is perhaps most notable, fully human.  He doesn’t know that he is our Immortal Shakespeare, but thinks himself only a highly mortal poet, struggling with the vicissitudes of life and love.  The sonnets reveal an incredible range of imaginative beauty and poetic ingenuity, and it will be our task and pleasure to explore them slowly and carefully as we get to know Shakespeare the man and poet.

Students: Open to all students.

Format and Style: Class is highly conversational.

Requirements:  Attendance; class participation; reading response every class; five-page essay.

Grading: Based on the above requirements, with emphasis placed upon class participation

ENGL 29700 (02) Professional Development Practicum (Graphic Novels)

INSTRUCTOR: Katharine Kittredge, Muller 317, Ext. 4- 1575

ENROLLMENT: 10

PREREQUISITES: none

OBJECTIVES: The "Graphic Novel Advisory Board" is a group of IC students who get together to review children's and teen's graphic novels. They share their findings with rural librarians and discuss ways for them to enhance their collections of graphic novels. The group puts out a monthly newsletter reviewing a wide range of graphic novels. This 1.5 credit experimental course is a great opportunity for anyone interested in education, promoting reading, or marketing/publishing graphic novels. If the pandemic allows, we also host community events promoting reading and collaborate with ITHACON to provide a whimsical reading room.

FORMAT/STYLE: Small group collaborative activities, regular writing assignments, weekend site visits.

GRADING: Performance of assigned tasks, participation in site visits, regular writing assignments, end-of-semester assessment based on personal goals (may involve event planning, reviewing, editing, or doing website enhancement), reflection on event and personal achievement.

ENGL 31100-01 DRAMATIC LITERATURE I

3 CREDITS

ICC DESIGNATION: Writing Intensive

INSTRUCTOR: Dan Breen, 302 Muller, ext. 4-1014

ENROLLMENT: 20 students per section

PREREQUISITE: Any three courses in English, history of the theater, or introduction to the theater.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: “Comedy” and “tragedy” are ancient categories, invoked originally to describe different kinds of dramatic composition. Though this distinction remains a convenient (and relevant) one for contemporary readers and audiences, it is also the case that these seemingly simple, seemingly antithetical terms convey a range of emotion and experience that is not always easily divisible. Tragic—or potentially tragic—situations often arise in comedy, and there are moments in most tragedies at which the plays seem as though they might begin to move in more optimistic or affirming directions. This course will begin with the hypothesis that the terms “comedy” and “tragedy” describe actions taken by dramatic characters in response to crisis, and the specific consequences of those actions. As such, we will attempt to locate “comedy” and “tragedy” within fundamental elements of human experience, and examine the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual dimensions of each. We will read a selection of plays from the Classical, Renaissance English, and Restoration traditions including Sophocles’ Ajax, Plautus’ Pseudolus, Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II and Aphra Behn’s The Feigned Courtesans.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion, with some context-setting lectures.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Two 5-7-page essays, a short (2-3 pages) response paper, a take-home final exam, and class participation. Grading will be A-F. Because of the discussion-oriented format, class participation will be an important part of students’ final grades.

ENGL 33100-01, DRAMATIC LITERATURE I

3 CREDITS

ICC DESIGNATION: Writing Intensive

INSTRUCTOR: Christopher Matusiak, Muller 326

ENROLLMENT: 20 per section

PREREQUISITES: Three courses in English, history of the theater, or introduction to the theater.

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

The theatre was predominantly a male institution until the seventeenth century, but women and their experience have always been central concerns of dramatic writing. This course explores the representation of women in early drama and traces the beginnings

of their active participation in the art as playwrights, actors, and patrons. Areas of focus will include the cultural construction of women in Greek and Roman drama; saintly mothers and transgressive wives in medieval biblical plays; the semiotics of female impersonation by ‘boys’ during the English Renaissance; and the challenges posed to patriarchal tradition by Elizabeth Carey, Margaret Cavendish, and Aphra Behn—the first women to write plays of their own in English. We will read Aristophanes’ Lysistrata; Seneca’s Medea, medieval mystery plays from the York cycle; John Fletcher’s The Tamer Tamed (a sequel to Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew); Carey’s The Tragedy of Mariam (the first original play by a female author in English), The Rover by Behn (the first woman to support herself writing for the professional stage), and Mary Pix’s The False Friend (a late seventeenth-century re-working of Othello). For context, we will examine the political and economic positions women have historically occupied in Western societies, consider theories of gender and its encoding in linguistic and behavioral discourse, and survey changes in the material conditions of performance from the ancient world to the early modern period.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion/lecture.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: active participation; two short essays; a take-home final exam.

ENGL 31200-01, -02 DRAMATIC LITERATURE II: Performing Gender in Modern Drama

3 CREDITS

ICC DESIGNATION: Writing Intensive

INSTRUCTOR: Claire Gleitman, 303 Muller, ext. 4-3893

ENROLLMENT: 20 students per section

PREREQUISITE: Any three courses in English, history of the theater, or introduction to the theater.

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

“I do not want to be thought of as a woman. I will not dress as a woman. I do not care for the things women care for.” So says George Bernard Shaw’s title character in his play Saint Joan, written in 1923. Implicitly, Joan suggests that gender is something we perform in part through the clothes that we wear, which prompt other people to make determinations about who we are and what we “care for.” In this course, we will consider a range of plays written in the modern period, with a focus upon how characters in these plays perform, or refuse to perform, what they understand to be expected assumptions about gender in their time periods. Playwrights will include Henrik Ibsen, George Bernard Shaw, Bertolt Brecht, Samuel Beckett, Tennessee Williams, Wole Soyinka, Arthur Miller, Caryl Churchill, Suzan-Lori Parks, Anna Deavere Smith, and a still-to-be-determined contemporary playwright in partnership with the New Voices Literary Festival.

Note: This course fulfills WGST requirements, Theatre requirements, and either the 20/21st century or an upper-level elective requirement in English.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion, with some context-setting lectures.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Three 5-8 pp. essays, regular informal response pieces, and class participation. Grading will be A-F. Because of the discussion-oriented format, class participation will be an important part of students’ final grades

ENGL 31900-01 GREAT AMERICAN WRITERS BEFORE 1890

Topic: Declarations of independence; revelations of confinement

3 CREDITS

ICC ATTRIBUTE: Writing intensive

INSTRUCTOR: Hugh Egan, 306 Muller

ENROLLMENT: 20 students

PREREQUISITES: 9 credits in the humanities.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Throughout its relatively short recorded history, America has trumpeted itself as an exceptional experiment in nationhood—a democratic, self-reliant citizenry that serves as a model to the world. In this class we will interrogate some of the assumptions behind the idea of "American exceptionalism" and the myth of the "American dream." Beginning with accounts of European contact, we will follow the “new world” theme through the Puritan, Colonial, and Transcendental eras, through the Civil War to the brink of the 20th century. In one sense, the cultural trajectory of this course traces a familiar path—from a sense of early expectation and unlimited potential to the sobering realities of human pain and historical contingency. Throughout the term, we will examine how America's declarations of independence often reveal or conceal painful episodes of confinement— literal enslavement and also psychological imprisonment. To trace this theme, we will read a variety of American documents, including religious sermons, political treatises, philosophical essays, autobiographies, poems, short stories and, at the end of the term, a novel by Kate Chopin.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Largely discussion.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Three 5 page essays, and a substantial end-of-term research project. Grading will be A-F.

English 37900. The Matter of Black Lives in the Long 18th Century

ICC Designation: LA

English Designations: Pre-1800, World/Multi-Cultural Lit

Instructor: Kasia Bartoszyńska, Muller 

Enrollment: 20 per section

Prerequisites:  two courses in English

Course Description: This course examines representations of Black life and experience in British literature of the Long 18th Century, the age of the British slave trade and abolition. We will read letters, poetry, and fiction written by formerly enslaved Black authors as well as white British ones, and consider the range of attitudes and beliefs about Blackness that they represent. How did Black authors perceive their relationship to Britain, and to central aspects of English life—Christianity, polite culture, urban sophistication, global trade? How did Black and white writers argue for abolition; on what grounds, and with what rhetorical tools? What are the politics of white sympathy in the era of the slave trade? What do these texts show us about what Black life in eighteenth-century Britain was like, and what can these texts from the past teach us about race and racism in our present?

Course Format: Discussion

Requirements: Lively and engaged participation, regular reading reflections, presentation, two short essays, final project

ENGL 38200 (01) Modern Literature 1: Feminist Fictions

INSTRUCTOR: Katharine Kittredge, Muller 317, kkittredge@ithaca.edu

ENROLLMENT: 20

PREREQUISITES: Three English courses

OBJECTIVES: Feminist Fictions looks at twentieth and twentieth century novels, essays, and other forms of media which have shocked the nation and shaped the feminist movement. Texts will include The Bell Jar, Rubyfruit Jungle, Fear of Flying, and Stone Butch Blues, and essays from Audre Lorde, Roxanne Gay and Lindy West. Films and TV shows will be added according to popular demand. WARNING: course material includes explicit sexual descriptions including queer sexual activity and non-normative play.

FORMAT/STYLE: Full and small group discussion; collaborative activities, presentation on favorite example of female/queer representation.

GRADING: Performance of assigned tasks, weekly blog posts, one pop culture presentation, some mid-term activity; final project.

ENGL 39000  WRITING THE PLAGUE:  SOPHOCLES TO KUSHNER

3 CREDITS

ICC DESIGNATION:  Identities; Inquiry, Imagination, and Innovation  

INSTRUCTOR:  David Kramer, 322 Muller

ENROLLMENT: 20 students

CRN:  43218

PREREQUISITES:  One course in the humanities or social sciences, or sophomore standing, or permission of the instructor.

"A plague on both your houses," cries Mercutio as he dies.  And every few years or centuries plague rips through the human world, destroying families, cities, nations, cultures.  The Black Plague, Bubonic Plague, Diptheria, Polio, Spanish Flu, AIDS, Ebola, and now Covid-19… all sweep upon and through us like avenging angels.  Plague has always been a part of human life—we are consumed by pestilence, we recover, we forget.

            But writers do not forget, and some of the great historians, poets, story-tellers, playwrights, novelists have recorded for us what life is like in the midst of these outbreaks of terror and death, and have explored plague’s existential, theological, and human implications.  This course will study works of the great Greek historian Thucydides; the story-tellers Boccaccio, Hawthorne, Poe; playwrights Ben Jonson and Tony Kushner; novelists Daniel DeFoe, Albert Camus, Jose Saramago, Philip Roth… and more, always more.   There will be tragedy, but also some of the best comic stories ever told.

            We’ll study history, epidemiology, culture, and, most especially, wonderful works of literature that will yield, even in the midst of sorrow and terror, the pleasure of a hard job memorably done. 

Format and Style: Class is highly conversational.

Requirements: Two eight-page essays; reading quiz and reading response every class; take-home mid-term and final.

Grading: Based on attendance, participation, and completion of the above requirements. 

ENGL 41000-01 Seminar in Medieval Literature: Race and Racism in/and the Middle Ages

3 Credits

INSTRUCTOR: Alexis Becker

ENROLLMENT: 10

PREREQUISITES: Four courses in English, including ENGL 23200: Medieval Literature, or permission of instructor

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

In this seminar, we’ll think through projects of racialization and race-making in the literature of the Middle Ages as well as the investments in whiteness that are often embedded in the study of medieval literature (as well as in the very idea of the “medieval”). Topics include ahistorical white supremacist co-optations of the Middle Ages; the medieval origins of modern conceptions of “race”; Arab perspectives on the Crusades; medieval English coloniality; relationships between medievalism and Orientalism; and the Indigenous turn in medieval studies. Readings include a range of scholarship, particularly by medievalists of color, and medieval texts including Usama ibn Munqidh’s Book of Contemplation, chansons de geste, romance, and travel narratives.

FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion (online, mostly synchronous)

COURSE REQUIREMENTS: Regular reading reflections, presentations, research paper or project, lively participation.

ENGL 48000-01 SEMINAR IN LITERARY CRITICISM: THE LIFE, DEATH (AND REBIRTH?) OF THE AUTHOR

3 CREDITS

INSTRUCTOR: Dan Breen, 302 Muller, ext. 4-1014

ENROLLMENT: 10 students per section

PREREQUISITE: Four courses in English

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Despite the claims of poststructuralist criticism about the fragmented nature of discourse, the figure of the author continues to exert a powerful influence over popular and academic understandings of the status both of literary production and literary interpretation. Our task in this course will be to historicize the modern author and to use this figure to survey the landscape primarily of twentieth- and twenty-first-century literary culture. We will begin with a brief study of the Romantics, and spend the balance of the course studying literary criticism, novels, plays, and poems from the last hundred years. We will consider works by Keats, Coleridge, Woolf, Barthes, Foucault, Gilbert and Gubar, Burke, and others.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion, with some context-setting lectures.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: One 12-15-page research-oriented term paper, and class participation. Grading will be A-F. Because of the discussion-oriented format, class participation will be an important part of students’ final grades.